Friday, April 11, 2014
“When I’m doing my best is when I’m completely focused…You completely wipe off any thoughts of the future, there’s nothing going on in the past, you’re just completely locked in on the moment, and there’s no thinking, you’re zoned in on this moment in time.” -Frank Mir
Frank Mir is describing the state some people refer to as being in "Flow". Oftentimes it's defined as being "in the zone". It's a state where you are totally immersed in the present moment and what you are doing and you lose your sense of "self" or "I". In a sense you remove your ego, time slows down, and you are completely in the present moment. This can be the catalyst to greatness within the realm of sports or anything for that matter, Whether you're playing a musical instrument or competing in a UFC Octagon.
Oftentimes the hindrance from achieving this state is having a very hyperactive mind. That is why some fighters such as Icelandic UFC welterweight Gunnar Nelson takes the approach of fighting with a clear head. He removes thoughts before fights, empties his mind (a-la Bruce Lee), and then is able to just go out there and get the job done. "Gunni" noted in the past that his most impressive BJJ performance in a grappling tournament was when he had no notice for fighting in it and was just called up to compete. He was just laughing, chilling with his mates on the sidelines, and then was thrown into competition. Having that lack anxiety generated by a hyperactive "monkey mind" as they call it in sports psychology, can often be disastrous for performance.
That is also why Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida, a former UFC light-heavyweight champion, and exceptional mixed martial arts fighter, also goes into a "no thought" state of mind prior to fights. He calls it "Mushin", which is a zero-thought type of meditative state, and that is a springboard to getting into the zone.
When you are in the zone it may only last a few seconds, and the prolonging of it can be hindered by the ego getting involved. The mind/ego starts to chatter, "Wow, look at me and how great I am in this state", along with a whole variety of other phrases along with that. When that occurs you lose that flow state. Just like anything though it can be trained and improved upon with continual practice.